12 Days Uncorked
Story by Jordan Lacenski
Dec 13, 2016
Written while sipping early on the twelfth day of Christmas.
The holidays tend to bring a full house as families and friends get together. Whether you are stocking up for festive cellar or you are counting down the days and would like a well-deserved treat in the meantime, everyone loves a gift of fermented grapes. Gift yourself and those around you by expanding your palate, as you taste through the twelve days of Christmas. Starting with dry, light-bodied wines and increasing the intensity as you go, you may surprise yourself and fall in love with a varietal you typically avoid.
On the first day of Christmas, bubbles are in order. Toast to the season with a Champagne worthy of December. Always elegant and perfect to toast your arriving guests, Champagne provides a merry and bright beginning to the season. Moet & Chandon Impérial Brut is just $44 and is made from more than 100 different wines. Receiving a Wine Spectator score of 91, it is a divine option to pop, clink, and fizz as you begin to celebrate the success of 2016.
On the second day of Christmas, savor the season with a Sauvignon Blanc. With our favorite scents in the air, Sauvignon Blanc pairs perfectly with fresh pine. Grassini 2015 Sauvignon Blanc is fresh and inviting. Floral and citrus notes swirl through the nose while grapefruit acidity and pear; honeydew flavors wash through your palate.
On the third day of Christmas, cheers to Chenin Blanc, one of the classically important white grape varietals. With a range from dry to sweet, be sure to pick for your preference. Domaine Patrice Colin 2014 Vieilles Vignes Chenin Blanc comes with an extra tang. Crisp baked apple flavors provide a sweet but structured wine for just $16.
On the fourth day of Christmas, we recommend Chardonnay. Most frequently aged in oak, this grape is described as round, full bodied, and lush. The 2015 Hamilton Russell Chardonnay Hemel-en-Aarde Valley greets you with tropical fruits, apple, peach, and honeysuckle. As these ripe flavors dance on your tongue, you are reminded why this wine garnered 94 points and was listed on the “Top 100 Wines” of 2016 by Wine Spectator.
On the fifth day of Christmas, Rosé adds a tiny splash of festive color to your lineup. The popular partnership between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie with the Perrin family has produced a very popular Rosé, great for gifting or consuming yourself. A perfect balance between crisp fruit and acidity, the touch of tannin allows a light pink color to swirl your glass.
On the sixth day of Christmas, we have a treat for you, and your wallet. The 2014 Mud House Pinot Noir Central Otago is particularly appealing. This 90-point $15 Pinot Noir graced the Wine Spectator “Top 100” list. With a velvety texture and strong notes of cherry and plum, this is a great way to ease into bigger reds. Nutmeg and black tea flavors are indicative of the season.
On the seventh day of Christmas, Leonettie Cellar 2013 Sangiovese stretches its legs as light tones of herb, earth, cranberry, and cherry show hints of its barrel age. Given 91 points by Wine Enthusiast, this Walla Walla Valley wine brings you holiday wishes.
On the eighth day of Christmas, Spann Vineyards 2012 Tempranillo is the perfect wine to pass around the table with a mild texture and layers of fruit. Spice and oak balanced ripe cherry and raspberry. From Lake County, California, this 91-point wine (WE), is very well balanced for all of your guests.
On the ninth day of Christmas, Carlisle Zinfandel Russian River Valley Montafi Ranch packs a lot of luxurious flavors for under $50. Rich aromas of black raspberry and orange zest are met with just as complex flavors. Blackberry, mint and baking spices are sure to match up to any traditional Christmas dish.
On the tenth day of Christmas, Arbor Crest 2012 Four Vineyards Merlot is smooth and rich, although just $18. Made from high quality grapes, the tobacco and cherry aromas precede a dense palate with flavors of framboise and crème de cassis. Concentrated fruit runs deep earning this wine an “Editor’s Choice” from Wine Enthusiast.
On the eleventh day of Christmas, we recommend a bottle as beautiful as its contents. The Mollydooker Shiraz McLaren Vale Carnival of Love is bold. The complexity of this wine lasts through the finish, which follows rope cherry and plum, vanilla bean, licorice, early grey tea, and the very appropriate, gingerbread. Ranked number 30 on the Wine Spectator “Top 100” list, this 95-point wine is well worth it.
On the twelfth day of Christmas, Cabernet Sauvignon, treat yourself to the number one rated wine on the Top 100 list by Wine Spectator. 2013 Lewis Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley is under $100 and earned 95 points (WS). Described as “elegant and refined for a wine of this size and depth,” flavors of plum, blackberry, and currant pair perfectly with all of your holiday fare. The taste lingers, as we all wish the holiday season would.
Feel free to extend the celebration with a port or dessert wine. Savor each sip with those around you. May the wine at your table bring you all closer as you gift each other with your company.
Happy Holidays. Cheers. Proost. Sláinte. Salute. Salud.
– Jordan Lacenski: Founder & Chief Innovation Officer of BrandBoss Creative